What happens if you live an hour from a 12th century abbey? You shoot there. A lot. It’s one of my all-time favorite locations and I actually got more sets planned, yet again.
But first: let me give you some history! The abbey of Villers-la-Ville: it’s an open air museum/monument of an abbey that started being build in the 12th century and was completed 100 years later. It has a rich history and I highly recommend visiting it if you ever have the chance.
On a previous shoot when I had some time over I decided to take photos of the surroundings in the abbey itself to see if there were any other angles I could work at. For a while already I had another idea I thought I could combine so I wanted to have something visual to refer to when working on the concepts in advance.
Fast forward to a few weeks back and I got in touch with Fine Art Backdrops, who created some gorgeous hand painted backdrops. I ended up getting two amazing sets sponsored (and becoming one of their ambassadors!) and I knew this was the moment to set things in motion:
I’m mostly a studio photographer but as artist and professional I always want to keep challenging myself to try out new things – one of those is a concept that intrigued me for a few years now, which is using backdrops on location and shooting with the scenery around it. And there was no better spot to try this out than at the abbey.
I reached out to some of my favorite people to ask if I could borrow styling and both Church Of Sanctus send me almost their entire new “Poseideia” collection and Eero Hintsanen was so kind to send me three of his designs, including his retired longer-then-life-spine necklace. After posting in my model’s group, I got a ton of response and I set out with one of those badass teams to create magic.
But as one do … rookie mistakes happen still: I realised I didn’t check if there where any concerts planned for a longer period of time, something that happens a lot in the summer season there and I found myself with a huge stage in the middle of the part of the abbey I wanted to shoot, blocking nearly every location I had. I quickly improvised and decided to shoot with my Canon 24-70 lens so I could capture as much as possible from the surroundings and go to the gardens after, which where in full bloom and gave an amazing scenery.
Originally, this blog was intended to be to showcase the entire collection with these awesome models and designers involved – but when processing the files, I realised that a specific set stood out. After long consideration, trying out various ways to process it and finally realising I couldn’t combine them – I decided to pick the one set that stood out. Jasmijn – who goes by the model name My Fragility – and I have been working for 10 years together and there is always this chemistry between us where I just let her do her thing and I capture what happens. It’s awesome and this was no exception.